Small screen gets big and powerful for women
For decades, women have ruled the small screen, and now they are scripting a new narrative by reclaiming the power of their voice. We talk to actors such as Jasmin Bhasin, Juhi Parmar, Tina Datta, Urvashi Dholakia, Aishwarya Sakhuja and Meera Deosthale to decode the shift.
If you see the TV shows today, women are still doing what they did earlier, but they have become more assertive now. They not just stand up for themselves, but voice out their opinion without the fear of being dominated or wronged by their on-screen husbands or mother-in-laws. We are done with the days where women were only considered as eye-candy.
Television moves the way our society moves and so the woman’s voice too has changed in its own way. We have slowly started shifting towards showing the troubles women face, working women, etc. But the narrative will take time to completely change, it is a slow and steady process.
Women have always ruled television with their strong presence, but over the years the way they are being positioned has changed. They are no more the victims or damsels in distress, and now have a more powerful side to their characters. Women on TV have evolved and are now more bold, outspoken and have their own point of views which are not ruled by the patriarchal side.
Women have moved on from being damsels in distress. The freedom we have is a lot more these days, and this also stems from the fact that girl children are being educated and they are growing up to be more self sufficient. The content on TV has acknowledged that. It lets families realise women are more than just cooking and cleaning.
Earlier women were given powerful characters, but their voices were not heard. They were made to look good in the kitchen, but now women on screen, but also put their foot down. Now, we don’t see characters who will keep their mouth shut just because of pressure. They speak their mind without the fear of being judged and stand for the right.
The small screen has always been progressive about the representation of women, from Balika Vadhu to Kasautii Zindagii Kay. Now, every time a new show comes out, it revamps and tweaks the storyline and characterisation.
TV has always been a medium that focused on the plight of women in our country. We have had our shifts every now and then. This present phase of highlighting women’s role in the lives of all the family members is a hopeful one. I hope that people just don’t see it as just another form of entertainment. They can actually take a point home.
In India, until the audience sees the main protagonist in stress or trouble, they have a tough time connecting with the character. However, it is changing. The characters are now capable of fighting on their own. She is independent, and there is equality. She can do anything.
I don’t feel there has been any change. If you look at older shows like Shanti or even Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin, the titular characters were strong women. Characters like Tulsi and Parvati, took a stand for themselves and for the others in their family. I feel somewhere we have just followed what was being shown earlier through different characters and stories.
I don’t think there has been a shift, there has been a progression. Indian television has always had women-centric shows with strong characters -- each had their own voice. While the story always revolved around them having an identity crisis, they have always fought for their rights and have made their voices heard. We have just continued to make more of such stories with more relatable content.
It has changed in TV majorly, and it should change in real life too. It is a new world after 2020, and I would request everyone to be a new version of themself. They should go for balance, and create a balance. Woman should be understood, and they should also understand themselves.